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NEWS | May 10, 2024

New York Army Guard Hosts Regional Best Warrior Competition

By Eric Durr, New York National Guard

NEW YORK - The Northeast region Best Warrior Competition, hosted by the New York Army National Guard May 13-17, will be held at locations across the state.

The 16 Soldiers from New York, New Jersey and New England competing to go to the national Army National Guard Best Warrior competition in August will participate in events in the Hudson Valley, the brink of Niagara Falls, Fort Drum and Manhattan.

Sgt. 1st Class James Montesano, the New York Army Guard’s assistant state training noncommissioned officer coordinating the event, said all of the New York National Guard's major commands will support the competition.

He said the idea came from New York Army National Guard State Command Sgt. Maj. Edwin Garris.

“What the state command sergeant major wanted to do was to show them New York and the Army facilities in it,” Montesano explained.

The competition begins May 13 at Camp Smith Training Site in the Hudson Valley near Peekskill.

The Soldiers will spend two days at Camp Smith, taking tests on military knowledge and competing in land navigation, military and marksmanship skills.

On May 14, the Soldiers will board a CH-47F Chinook helicopter flown by B Company of the 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation, and travel across the state to the Youngstown Training Area. Youngstown is along the Niagara River and the state’s western border with Canada.

They will bivouac for the night and be up early May 15 to take a bus to Niagara Falls State Park on Goat Island between the American and Canadian falls.

Sgt. 1st Class Erin Manhart, the assistant operations NCO of the 153rd Troop Command, said they would take off at 6:30 a.m. on a five-mile run.

Then, they bus back to the Youngstown Training Area to compete in an M-17 pistol shoot and take a test on medical evacuation procedures.

After that, they fly via the CH-47 to Fort Drum, the home of the 10th Mountain Division in New York’s North Country. The Soldiers will handle a call for fire support.

Mortarmen assigned to the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will be firing live 120mm mortar rounds, and the Best Warrior competitors will be scored on how quickly they get rounds on target.

After flying back to Camp Smith, the Soldiers will be back on board the helicopter the next day. They will fly down the Hudson River, over the George Washington Bridge and past the Statue of Liberty, landing at the Battery Park helipad at the tip of Manhattan.

The Soldiers will conduct a 12-mile timed ruck march heading north up the Hudson River on the Empire State Trail along the river. When they reach the U.S.S. Intrepid Museum docked near the Hells Kitchen neighborhood, they will turn around and head back.

The Soldiers will be bused to the 9/11 Memorial for concluding remarks before returning to Camp Smith.

On May 17, there will be a formal dinner for the competitors, state sergeants’ majors and others at the Thayer Hotel at the United States Military Academy at West Point. 

Montesano explained that by holding events across the state, the Soldiers and leaders would experience a midsize post, i.e., Camp Smith, a small training area, a massive Army base, and the military academy.



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